Enter Flashtime, the latest episode of The Flash, was a creative risk that greatly paid off, proving just how magical superhero media can be.
Superheroes have come a long way in more ways than one since they were first introduced. The characters have become a lot more diverse and representative of the world outside our windows for one thing; there have also been huge strides in the way their stories are told.
Comic-book creators are pushing the boundaries of storytelling by constantly experimenting and trying new things. This is also reflected in what we see on TV. The latest episode of The Flash is a prime example of this.
In a change from what’s been a rather hit-and-miss season for the Scarlet Speedster, ‘Enter Flashtime’ didn’t allow itself to get bogged down in the ongoing conflict with the Thinker or the overarching plot of the season. Instead, we were given a self-contained story that could only be told on The Flash.
The Magic of the Speed Force
In what seemed like a normal beginning to the episode, Barry and the team at STAR Labs were alerted to a police shoot-out at an ARGUS warehouse and sped off to save the day. Once they arrived they discovered that the situation was much more alarming than they first thought.
As the fight raged on, we learned that the container ARGUS and the CCPD were defending actually contained a nuclear bomb and the group’s leader had the means to activate it. Before even Barry could stop her, the bomb was activated, and Central City was staring death in the face.
It was at this moment that the episode took a hugely creative turn and everything apart from Barry and Jessie stopped; time appeared to freeze because the two speedsters were moving so quickly. Barry then demonstrated the height of his powers by allowing his friends to briefly enter Flashtime and move at hyper-speed by touching them.
This episode really puts Barry through his paces and stretched his powers to the limit, which is something we’d not really seen up until this point. Though he’s faced a great number of formidable foes, we’d never seen him actually push himself for so long to the point that he was dripping with sweat by the time they came up with a solution.
The fact that Barry was able to go through all of this trial and error in what was, in reality, seconds, proved just how fast he is and delivered one of the finest episodes of The Flash to date.
Superheroes Are Constantly Trying New Things
Experimenting with storytelling is nothing new to superhero creators. It’s been common practice over the years to have standalone issues of comics that had no connection to any of the previous arcs. And the same is true for TV.
In 23-episode seasons there will be so-called bottle episodes, which only feature the main cast and the most common sets. This is typically a money-saving idea, but often it leads to the most creative stories.
It was around this time last year that The Flash had visitors from Earth-38 as Supergirl crossed over for a special musical episode. What’s more, they actually worked in a logical reason for the cast to suddenly burst into song as Barry and Kara were trapped in a shared hallucination by the Music Meister.
All of this was possible because of the creativity allowed to superhero shows and, as far as I’m concerned, long may it continue. ‘Enter Flashtime’ was a high for this season of The Flash and it delivered a story that could only be told in the world of the Scarlet Speedster.
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